Two days after Governor Greg Abbott’s first phase to reopen Texas began, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo took to Twitter asking for citizens to help ensure businesses were conforming to the rules. Judge Hidalgo provided a link where people can turn in restaurants that exceeded 25% capacity and other businesses that were open without permission.
See a restaurant at full capacity? Businesses open that shouldn’t be? Help us save lives. If you see violations of Governor Abbott’s order, please report them at:
— Harris County Judge (@HarrisCoJudge) May 3, 2020
The request arrived the day after Judge Hidalgo announced a new stay home order for Harris County, which extended orders through May 20th. However, with the Governor stating that his recent orders superseded local orders, there is question of how reports might be enforced.
A legal analyst from KPRC Houston, Brian Wice, weighed in on their website, saying that “due process requires that you literally catch someone in the act, and unless some is there with a webcam or their cellphone and they can show that in fact a violation has occurred I can assure you that there is no way any purported violation particularly one that’s not reported contemporaneously with contemporaneous proof is ever going to make it past the ‘why are we doing this’ stage.”
Wice also warned that some may use the opportunity to get back at businesses they may not like, saying that “some people might utilize this to settle old scores or people who might find themselves informing on a competitor.”